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China typhoon death toll rises to 17 as more rain expected


A dog walks past as a man stands in front of a factory building which was destroyed by Typhoon Rammasun, in Leizhou, Guangdong province July 19, 2014. Photo - Reuters

Beijing: The death toll from the strongest storm to hit China in decades has reached 17, state media said Sunday, as forecasters issued warnings of more extreme weather.

Typhoon Rammasun has left eight people dead in the island province of Hainan and another nine in Guangxi, official news agency Xinhua reported.

At least two people are missing, Xinhua added citing local authorities, as the strongest typhoon to hit south China since 1973 headed north.

State media said Saturday evening that eight people had been killed in the storm.

Television pictures Sunday showed waterlogged roads and heavy rain in the southwestern province of Yunnan. Online pictures showed uprooted trees, destroyed crops and deserted, rain-soaked streets across much of southern China.

The typhoon first made landfall in China on Friday afternoon as a super typhoon, packing winds exceeding 200 kilometres (124 miles) an hour.

Weather authorities in China issued a "red" alert warning for Rammasun on Saturday -- the most severe of China's four colour-code warnings.

But the storm has since been downgraded "as it is abating and affecting fewer Chinese localities", Xinhua added.

All the airports on Hainan had re-opened on Sunday, as ferry, rail and bus services resumed, it said.

Meanwhile, China's National Meteorological Centre was warning that downpours triggered by the typhoon were expected in northern parts of China in the coming days.

Rammasun -- meaning "Thunder God" in Thai -- has caused at least 94 deaths in the Philippines, where it hit before lashing China.

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